“I cannot believe that Lady B is still at the bookstore,” I murmur to Sabrina, who’s eyes have grown a tad wide.
“I can’t believe she’d miss this.” Sabrina replies in awe. Because there, in the empty ballroom, in the middle of the day, is the Cabal. The Cabal of Monty’s friends. The Cabal of devastatingly hot heroes all dressed up Regency-style and no one to flirt with.
Except a bunch of authoresses.
It isn’t long before Sarah, Katharine, Miranda, Lauren and Tessa have come running down the stairs, each stopping in their tracks upon seeing the glory before them.
“Oh my… there are twins,” Tessa breathes with relish.
“Come on, ladies,” Katharine winks. “This may be our only chance to get to them before Lady B and her set take over. Divide and conquer!”
We start running as if someone fired a gun at the starting line. I don’t see who ends up with who, I just blindly make for the first hero I see.
“Hello there,” says the smiling, sandy-haired gentleman in the rust-colored coat and shiny boots. He looks like he’s been outside, all windswept and healthy and gorgeous. “I’m Lord Henry Markman. It’s a pleasure.”
I’m fairly certain I say my name properly, but I can’t be sure. It was hidden beneath a snorting giggle.
“An authoress you say?” Lord Markman says, quizzically. “Heavens… Monty was telling me that his aunt was very supportive of the literary arts, but I didn’t expect to be encircled by bluestockings so quickly.”
My brow comes down. “Is there something wrong with learned women?”
“No!” Lord Henry hastens to assure. I just noticed his eyes are a golden hazel. Which might be a problem for me. I have a special weakness of men with hazel eyes. “I simply prefer the outdoors. Bluestocking women have a tendency to be squinty-eyed and lank from being indoors pouring over books.”
Hazel eyes aside, I feel my ire, rising. “Sir, do I seem squinty-eyed to you?”
“No…” Lord Markham replies, considering. “I would call it more ‘eyes narrowed with rage,’ right now.”
“And lank? Do I qualify as lank?”
“No indeed. You are in fact, rather fluffy.”
“So perhaps you need to overcome your misconception about what a bluestocking might be and look like.” I reply, tartly.
“Yes, I suppose so…” Lord Henry says, looking sheepish. “Oh dear, I am afraid I began this rather badly.”
“Indeed.” I give him my best bemused smile.
“To be quite honest,” Lord Henry ducks close, his voice low. And he smells like oak and grass. Of course. “I find you all rather intimidating. You know so much more than I do. And I wish I read more, but I know I’ll never catch up, so I might as well go shooting or riding or something out of doors.”
“Oh, Lord Henry,” I say, a smile on my face as I take his arm. “I have no doubt that by the time we are through with you, you will be mad about bluestockings.”
I’m getting ideas in my head about who we should match Lord Henry Markham up with! But you’ll have to help. Which of the three ladies that leap to my mind would best catch Lord Henry’s eye? Vote, and let me know how you think they should first meet below!